Book Summary – Eat That Frog By Brian Tracy
The book helps readers understand the importance of managing our priorities and contains many highly practical and easy to implement suggestions for improving our effectiveness and ultimately to achieve our goals. In particular it focuses on the need to eliminate procrastination when completing key tasks. The title of the book is inspired by Mark Twain who once said that if you start the day by eating a frog you would have the satisfaction of knowing that this was probably the worst thing you had to do that day. The frog is a metaphor for your biggest and most important task. It encourages us to develop a habit of starting and completing important tasks.
Although the author warns us that there is never enough time to do everything on our lists there is always enough time to complete the important tasks. He provides techniques to help us set clear priorities and implement plans to achieve these. Overall the book includes 21 key suggestions – 1 per chapter and this summary briefly explains each one. Our team has picked up following 12 out of 21.
1. Set the Table
Before you begin working it is vital that you decide exactly what you want to achieve. Clarity is essential for prioritizing tasks and eliminating procrastinating. Remember goals are considered the furnace of achievement.
“There is one quality that one must possess to win and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants and the burning desire to achieve it” – Napolean Hill
2. Plan every day in advance
Your ability to set goals, make plans and take action on them determines the quality of your life. Taking action without planning is the cause of every failure and yet very few do it.
3. Apply 80/20 rule to everything
The 20% tasks are often our “frogs” – the ones we tend to procrastinate on. Often we focus on the 80% tasks instead. Therefore don’t be tempted to start on low values tasks. There is great satisfaction gained from completing high value tasks.
4. Consider the consequences of each task on your list
One of the best ways of prioritising tasks is to consider the consequences of doing or not doing each task on your list. Ask yourself – what can I do that, if done well, can make a real difference. Keep asking yourself what is my most valuable task and discipline yourself to do these tasks.
5. Practice Creative Procrastination
This is the art of deciding to procrastinate on your low value tasks. That is deliberately deciding to postpone or eliminate these tasks. Review your current work activities and select one that you could abandon with little or no consequences.
6. Practice A, B, C, D & E Method of Prioritising
This is a simple method used to prioritise your list of tasks that need to be completed to ensure the most important ones are done. This is a very powerful and yet simplistic method for transforming your efficiency.
7. Focus on Key Result Areas
Every job we do can be broken down into 5-7 key areas. These are the areas we need to focus on to succeed. These can be defined as areas that you are completely responsible for and that are within your control.
8. The Law of 3
This law is basically that there are usually 3 key tasks that will give you 90% of the results you want. Make a list of all of the tasks you need to complete. Decide on your 3 key tasks and do them. For the other tasks you can look to delegate, outsource or look for support (where possible)
9. Prepare thoroughly begin you begin
It really pays to prepare before you begin working each day or before you begin working on a specific task. To thoroughly prepare you should clear your desk of anything not required to complete this specific task, gather all the materials etc that you will need so that you don’t even have to get up for say a file and then start doing it.
10. Take it one oil barrel at a time
The famous Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said “the journey of 1,000 leagues begins with a single step”. When a task just appears to be too big to achieve then it is very useful to break in down (often referred to “Chunking it down”) to get started.
11. Create large chunks of time
Most of the really important work you do requires large chunks of unbroken time to complete. Your ability to carve out these blocks of high value, highly productive time is central to your ability to make a significant contribution to your work. And to your life.
12. Develop a sense of urgency
One of the most outwardly identifiable quality of a highly successful person is action orientation – they are in a hurry to get their key tasks completed. When you are working on your key tasks you should develop a sense of urgency to motivate yourself to get them completed.